But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
It has been so long since my last blog that I had to go back and reread my last entry to remind myself what I had last written. I am so sorry for this! November was a tough month. Starting off Kenzie and Kyla each celebrated a birthday, Tim went through major work transitions, Thanksgiving, prepping for Christmas and it was the month has two rounds of chemo all of this really took a tole on me mentally and physically! The fifth one knocking me out for almost two weeks! So much has happened and some of the changes have been difficult and though there have been very deep lows. I can honestly say God has continued to be a constant comfort to me! Even when I question his goodness and his plan, he has supplied the grace when I am weak to be an overcomer in this battle.
The beginning of November started out rough. Tim’s company was bought out, we literally were given a few days’ notice. The employees were given very little information. They were informed they would all have to interview for new positions. And then on top of it pay, salary, benefits would not be disclosed until after interviews were all complete. This sent us into panic mode for a moment. Our insurance was of most concern to us for obvious reasons. We were notified that we would be covered until the end of December, but after that only if Tim got hired on to the new company. Well we really decided to not worry or focus on the what ifs. That week we prayed gave it all to God trusting if this was time for a job change, he would direct us and if not, Tim would be given a position that would still be able to support our family….. And as I am sure you have already guessed, He came through better than we had hoped for (Are you surprised?!?! Probably not if you’ve been keeping up with this blog! He seriously never disappoints.) Tim was offered a management position. It is hard to describe the feeling when the Lord just pours out such a blessing. And though our job status and finances have been secured there are still some major changes to our insurance which will greatly impact us in the New Year, but we continue to trust God and know that we are safe relying on him! The second transition that came at the beginning of November was Tim officially came back on staff at our church as a music pastor. The timing may have seemed odd to us and stressful to add one more thing to our already crazy little world, but we both felt peace about moving forward and having him accept the position. I had actually been praying daily for God to give Tim some sort of outlet during this time. As the head of the household he is not only working to provide for our family, but he comes home and takes on much more household responsibility that I cannot physically handle during this season and eventually I was worried he would burn out. So, when we sat down to talk one evening and he approached the subject of coming back on staff part time to lead worship. God told me very clearly in that moment, ‘It seems like strange timing, but this will be good, and this is what he needs right now.’ And then I was super excited, because I may be biased but my husband is AWESOME at leading worship! Needless to say, these two job situations have led to Tim being gone quite a bit more which has caused some extra stress and tension on the household/5 children schedule front. Hence the super busy month not keeping up with the blog!
On to the medical side of things I continued with my fourth round of chemo November 7th. I was nervous because it would be the first one Tim wasn’t able to be with me. He had to be at work for all the new company training. Thankfully, my friend Lindsey was able to come with me. She was great being a nurse she helped me remember all the questions I had for the doctor, she kept me calm when I was getting infusion, and I was worried about it being a new nurse pushing the chemo through my port. We actually got to sit and chat for a while without any kiddos. So really ended up being a great time (as great as a time you can have in chemo I guess). My fourth round went well without a hitch. My doctor prescribed me some anti-anxiety medicine to help counter some of the side effects I was having when I take prednisone for the five days following chemo and it seemed to help! I did notice it took me almost a week to fully recover and feel like myself again. Fatigue and nausea just lingered longer than it had in the past! Following this fourth round I was informed it was time for a pet scan to check the status on the cancer and to determine if I was going to be done with treatment or continue into next year. My pet scan was scheduled for Monday, November 26. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving I received a call from Iowa City informing me that my pets can for the following Monday was going to be canceled due to insurance denial. It was hard not to allow frustration and fear to get the best of me at this point. I called my insurance company and was on the phone for over an hour really with no explanation except that my doctor would need to call and appeal the case. My doctor’s office was of course willing to do this but with it being a holiday weekend would not be able to until Monday. And…..we were at a sit and wait point again. I swear with all we have been through in the last few years I should be a champion at patience, but I am sorry to say situations like this remind me how human I am. I want to stomp around maybe say some choice words to insurance companies lol in the end it will do no good, so I humbly once again learn more and more patience. There will be a day when I master this, but I tell you this was not that day!
Well the week progressed we enjoyed Thanksgiving with our families being two weeks out from chemo I felt great and was so thankful I was able to enjoy this holiday! Monday came we did not hear anything, but my fifth round was scheduled for that Wednesday and we assumed we would be given an update then. Well Wednesday came we and headed to Iowa City. We went a little early to get labs drawn and then during our down time before chemo we had the pleasure of visiting the pediatric ward. A family friends’ nephew had recently been diagnosed with leukemia and had been admitted indefinitely for treatment. We were able to bless him and his mother with some gifts we had collected from our loving church family and then pray with them! My heart hurts for anyone going through this, but to see child completely wrecks me! I hope and pray we will continue to support them during this time!
After this we went down to meet my doctor. We were told that he was able to get the pets can approved that I would have its December 14th and we would plan on round 6 of chemo on December 19th and at that appointment we would have pets can results and know what the future looks like from there! He was very optimistic being that we have seen the physical evidence in my neck. The large lump that first appeared is no longer present. The one area of concern is the tumors that were in my chest. I guess maybe with everything going on in the beginning neither Tim nor I picked up on the extent of them. Dr. L’s actual description was ‘Oh your neck was just the tip of the iceberg, so it will be interesting to see your results.’ Tim told me after this he started praying for me immediately in his head because he was worried, I was about to freak out…. But I didn’t (Freak out I mean) I was actually just so excited about the pet scan and being so close to the finish line nothing was going to upset me! I have often wondered about the reason my scan was pushed back I may never know or maybe I just needed a little bit more time to heal I am secure in the fact that really it comes down to his timing not mine!
After leaving Iowa City and finishing my fifth round the next few days were okay the anti-anxiety meds really seem to keep the prednisone at bay, which I really appreciate! Though once Sunday came, I was hit with some major stomach issues. I was doubled over in pain and with what I can only relate to labor contractions. It was horrible I couldn’t get up off the floor. It would come in waves and after each strong pain I felt like I was going to pass out. It had been going on for about two hours. Tim was very worried he told me even during childbirth I did not act like that. One of the strong prayer warriors at the church called me during this time. I sat on the phone with her at times not even being able to talk because of how much pain I was in. She just sat there and prayed with me through it. Tim was on the phone with the doctor who was going to have me try some prescriptions and if that didn’t work, we were going to have to go in. After about twenty minutes being on the phone with Mary. The pain naturally resolved itself. I did not have to take any prescriptions! I am still a little in shock over all of it the pain was so great and to just be done! Even after it naturally subsided my body was physically drained though, I could only lay in bed exhausted. And it impacted my stomach greatly. Since then I have not had that extreme of pain, but my stomach is incredibly sensitive, and I have been sticking to a very light diet. That was four days ago. This week has been hard. Even as I sit here writing this, I still have not fully recovered from this fifth round! Yesterday I did not get out of bed at all, I am extremely fatigued, and the lingering effects of chemo seem to come and go at random. I am so grateful for my mother and mother in law whom have almost completely taken over my household duties and helped take care of my family! I am so blessed by all that they have done and continue to do to ensure we are all taken care of!
I hold on to the verse I used for this blog. Even in times like now where I feel weak. I only need to put my hope in the Lord. This trial is almost over! And though it has been the toughest season I have encountered in this lifetime. I know that He will renew my strength, because my trust and hope untimely are with him and Him alone!